Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Feel free to turn your critical eye my way Reply To: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way


Thanks, I hate Fauxtography!  I will stand by my assessment of Brian.  I think your description of “workman like” agrees with mine, or may be slightly elevated from mine, and I think Brian falls into that group.  I think he has been sideswiped by digital, but I see a lot in his work that suggests the 600 events.  What I see that distinguishes his photos from what I perceive fauxtographer’s work to be, are samples like this:


This is from the same group and might be an even better example:


They are standing in front of a stained glass window, lit from behind, and wearing black suits.  The average fauxtographer has extreme difficulty with this sort of photo but in these, the skin looks pretty good and you can see the detail in the suits.

Someone has a sense of humour!


What an expression!  The background is in focus and not very clean, but she is in focus and her dress is not blown out.  I don’t know if it should make the wedding album, but it’s a great photo!  She’s spread out across the whole frame and since she is holding the strawberrys in one hand and holding someone else’s hand with the other, it would be difficult to crop without losing part of the story.  Posed, or grab shot?  I don’t know, but definitely you shoot it now or it’s gone.

I’m not a fan of the practice of cake in the face,


But, this seems to be a flash photo, yet the background didn’t get much light and his face is not blown out, which suggests control.

Some other photos have wedding dresses over exposed by half a stop or so, which probably wouldn’t bother print film, and a good lab would dodge and burn a little to get the detail.  I think once he gets his monitor calibrated and sorts out the differences between film and digital, he will be back to producing consistent quality at an acceptable level.


Sandy Tam is a photographer where I live, so a lot of her backgrounds are immediately recognized by me.  She created quite a stir with this:  http://www.chfi.com/2012/05/24/wedding-photo-in-the-middle-yonge-dundas-intersection/

Her blog post for it, hopefully, is here:


Weddings start at $3,000.  She has great photos that tell stories and I bet her customers love them.  Her photos are pretty consistent.  She has the planning and staff to pull off a photo shoot in the middle of one of Toronto’s busier intersections during the all-ways-walk signal.  She has shot a lot, and has beautiful galleries.  Can we still pick her photos apart and see things we would like done better?  Well, yes.  Does that matter?  Probably not.


In engineering, there is the principle of “good enough”.   If you use materials that are too good, the product is too expensive, or it lasts too long and no one ever needs to buy a second one, either way you go out of business.  So, you engineer it to be good enough.  Good enough varies by market and may change over time.  During the first 100 years of the phone industry, 99.999% reliability was the target.  The last 10 to 15 years, that has been slipping as people have moved to cell phones and more features while caring less about reliability and more about cost.  NASA probably had a higher reliability target because riding a bomb into space is just plain dangerous.  Most products are made with commercial grade components instead of military grade because the cost is less, and reliability is not that critical.  I’m coming to suspect the same thing applies to photography.  Lots of people seem to be driven by cost rather than quality, so there is a bit of a race to the bottom.


When I was growing up, Time, Life and National Geographic were considered to be where the great photographers were working.  Thanks to YouTube, you can see a video of Joe McNally, working on the Sense of Sight photos, here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VacqxeJ8AN8.

The video shows why National Geographic has such great photo spreads!  It was a large story, it took a year, something like 40 photos on 40 pages.  More than 1200 rolls of film, so 43,200 + photos are whittled down to 80 which are presented to the senior folks, and eventually those  are whittled down to those few that are printed.  If you watch the video, listen to what they are saying about the photos and the selection process.

I started shooting slide film.  I shot a little print film, a little B&W.  The first photo I saw, that I was told was digital, was in 1996.  It was 2002 before I got a good digital camera.  I got a cheap digital camera in late 2001 or early 2002.  Coming from film, there has been a lot to learn.  I started shooting JPEGs at 1024 by 768 because they fit my monitor, now I shoot to raw files almost 6000 px wide because that is the sensor size, and I regret some of the early photos because I did not shoot them to raw, even though I could have, had I understood …

There is a lot of information out there.  Unfortunately, not all of it is accurate.  Sometimes it is just different ways of looking at things, sometimes it’s just bad information.  Figuring out what is accurate and what is not has been time consuming and expensive, but also enjoyable.  And then there is art, which for someone with an orientation toward science, can be daunting.  It’s coming along.  There is still a lot to learn.

Back to Brian for just a moment longer, he pointed out he has an understanding of his local demographics and that affects the work he does for others.  Sure sign of a business person.  And, not a bad thing.  We moan and bitch about fauxtographers who have customers, but no quality in their photos; while it breaks my heart that the customers receive such poor quality product, it is impressive that the fauxtographers apparently receive payment.  If Brian sticks around for a while, perhaps he can provide useful marketing and sales suggestions.